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New Program for At-Risk Youth Builds Confidence through Improv

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If you’ve ever experienced an improv show, whether as an audience member or as a performer, you know what an exciting and exhilarating experience it can be. In one sitting you can experience the joys of spontaneous comedy and find characters and situations that relate to your life and touch you personally.

If you’re a child living in a homeless shelter, you crave these kinds of experiences. Life in a shelter is impermanent and stressful for children. They are living in very close quarters with their families and often several other families, with little time to themselves and scant space to play.

That’s why over the past year, Hideout Theater has been working with Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Hideout improvisor Lacy Shawn to bring, through specialized weekly classes, the joy of improv to at-risk youth ages 4-18. Our classes provide a chance for these kids to relax, decompress and express themselves through improv.

“The special needs program at The Hideout Theatre combines the best of both improv and therapeutic intervention,” says Lacy, “resulting in a unique opportunity for youth to have fun while building skills that translate far beyond the stage. These youth are often facing significant barriers such as frequent school changes, family instability, trauma histories, and mental health challenges.  Our program was created with these kids in mind –to give them a space to build self-confidence, explore communication, express themselves, and develop self-regulation.  I’m incredibly pleased to report that we have had significant success thus far with the program, and I am hoping to continue providing these services as long as possible.”

Parents have shared with us that their children laugh and smile more, and that even though their situation hasn’t changed, their outlook has. Since our classes occur every week, these kids can depend on having a fun, expressive, consistent, and safe experience that can be hard to come by in their lives. The program has been so successful that the Salvation Army named the Hideout “Volunteer of the Month” in August.

Lacy and her team started offering classes to kids this summer, and thanks to a generous donation from Tim Coyle, the Hideout has enough funds to continue classes through October. If you’re interested in donating to this exciting program, click here. Roughly $60 provides a class for 10-12 at-risk kids. We would absolutely love to continue providing these classes for as long as possible moving forward.


For more information about the Hideout’s special needs program, which also includes programming for youth with autism spectrum disorders and specialized workshops, click here.

If you’d like to contact Lacy Shawn for more information please send a message to lacy@hideouttheatre.com.

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Broke and Bored? We’ve got a deal for you!

It’s that time of year! Didn’t you know? It’s Cheap Week at the Hideout! 

That’s right EVERY SHOW this week is only $5!!! That includes the debut of Reform School for Wayward Girls!! It includes The Big Bash!!! It includes PGraph Presents!!

The idea for Cheap Week has been fermenting for a while now. We wanted to start a new tradition to mark the occasion of The Hideout’s 15th anniversary. We also wanted a way to share our flagship shows like The Big Bash, Maestro, and our Mainstage shows with people who don’t have the budget for them.

This is the perfect time to do Cheap Week, because it’s the week after the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. People maybe have been satiated by the hundreds of shows, and need a little extra motivation. So we’re here to provide!!

Sooooo….see you this weekend, RIGHT?!?!?

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Tales from The First Ever Hideout Summer Intensive

This week The Hideout Theatre embarked on its first ever Summer Intensive. On Monday morning at 10am, 26 improvisors from near and far converged on the Hideout to learn from our crack team of improv instructors.

IntensiveEveryday, students of the intensive get a double dose of Hideout knowledge: fundamentals in the morning and narrative essentials in the afternoon. All week students have been raving about the experience.

“It’s hard to express how wonderful this experience has been,” says student Gloria Rabil Bankler “I’m am consistently amazed at the wonderful people improvisers are, wherever they come from. I appreciate them all so much as well as the teachers who are doing a spectacular job teaching information in a way that makes the six hours of instruction fly by. “

Intensive HangoutBy night, the improvisors of the intensive have been hanging with the locals, checking out the sights and many attended the Hideout improv jam on Wednesday to flex their new muscles.

“This is an amazing city filled with brilliant people,” says student Mark Tindle from London. “I am blown away by it and simply cannot put into words what a wonderful, open and loving welcome I have received here. I’m privileged to experience this.”

And it’s not just the improvisors taking the intensive that finding the experience enriching. The Hideout instructors are finding that the intensive is a growing opportunity for them as well.

“It’s a little intimidating to have people from all over the country and the world travel to learn from you,” says instructor Roy Janik. “I’ve been extra conscious to make sure that no moment is wasted. I’ve been leaning towards more exercises that everyone can do in pairs or in a few groups all at once. That way, no one is sitting down for too long, just watching. And of course, this is an excellent way to teach in general. The Intensive just reminded me of that.”

Now that you’ve heard all about these intrepid improvisors, come see what they’ve learned at the Hideout Summer Intensive Showcase Friday at 7:30pm and during Pgraph Presents Friday at 10pm!

And if you just want to try out improv yourself, sign up for our free improv class this Saturday or just take the plunge and sign up for a whole 6-week course!

You won’t regret it!

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